CICC-10, Hope to see you there.


Understanding the spontaneous metal whisker growth has been a challenge for decades. The whiskering phenomenon on the surface of MAX phase materials, a new family of ternary ceramics, poses a potential barrier to their application, since it casts doubts about their stability. Mainly with Cr2GaC and Ti2SnC as examples, we report the whiskering phenomena and the characteristics of the whiskers. A catalyst-based model, with cleavage planes of MAX phase grains involved as catalyzing sites, is proposed to understand the formation of metal whiskers. This model explains and predicts well the growth behavior of the whiskers. Due to the unusual similarity of the morphologies between the metal whiskers in MAX phases and the general metal whiskers, such as tin whiskers which haunted the electronics industry for roughly 70 years, the significance of the catalyst-based model on uncovering the myth of the general metal whiskers is obvious. Besides, with the whiskering mechanism unveiled, we attempted to utilize such processes to fabricate metal whiskers for possible application in energy storage, with some delighting results to share with you at the conference. 

Title: Ceramics and the spontaneous metal whisker growth